Wandering the streets of Paris.

Late afternoon at Notre Dame.

Late afternoon at Notre Dame.

One of our group had arrived in Paris from Greece the previous evening so we all left our luggage at his appartment, until ours was available.

Then 5 became 6 and we were able to wander (slowly because of tiredness, from flightimage) around the local area and look what we found just 1.2 kms away from our apartment. Notre Dame.

After we got our apartment organised, all except Glenys went back to ‘attack’ the 422 steps to the top of the tower.

Beautiful craftsmanship.

Rose window. Beautiful craftsmanship

I like the twilight. You can still do things later, after the siesta. Maybe I was a Spaniard, in a previous life.

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It’s feeling real now.

This is the whole group going on the Camino de Santiago.

This is the whole group going on the Camino de Santiago.

Well, in less than 8 hours we’ll be on the way to the Brisbane International Airport. I have a lot of different emotions and concerns about uncertainty when I travel but this is something I’ve been working towards ever since I finished walking the Camino with Glenys, back in 2011. To top it off, this time I’m doing it as a fundraiser and awareness pilgrimage.

This is a photo of the whole group that is going this time. We’re wearing our pseudo ‘club’ T-shirts and looking pretty good, down at our ‘clubhouse’. It was taken exactly one month ago before the first of us headed overseas.

One of the guys, Beckie, left Australia only a few days later. He’s already done a fair bit of holidaying, which included backpacking in Morocco, and will join us at the start of our Camino.

And then Glenda and Kel left the day after the Barefoot Bowls, to visit a few other European countries and will catch up with us in Paris before we head off to St Jean Pied de Port.

Those who are left are all packed and looking forward with excitement about the Camino.

Last night we had a farewell dinner at our usual Pizza Restaurant with some others who aren’t travelling, and in conversation realised that there won’t be too many of the group, back here in Australia ‘holding the fort’ as they say.

Well, we’ll be back mid-October with many tales.

In the meantime, I’ll still post some photos and information about the Charity Camino Challenge but the frequency will depend on wifi access and speed (photos).

As they say, ” Buen Camino.”

Thanks for your support

Kalani, helping his mum carry Fresh Sensations'  $50 fruit tray, into the Bowls Club.

Kalani, helping his mum carry Fresh Sensations’ $50 fruit tray, into the Bowls Club.

This post is to acknowledge the many offers of support from people and local businesses who donated in one way or another to make the Barefoot Bowls a financial success, and also the Charity Camino Challenge a success.

Firstly, Fresh Promotions who have sponsored the T-shirts for Glenys and me, and those going on the Charity Camino Challenge with us.

And also, the following donations kindly donated by the listed donors:

BP Mechanics Workshop, Wellington Point, for a car service voucher: value $200;

Anonymous donor, Moët &Chandon Grand Vintage 2002 in Faux leather box with tools: value $150;

Sharon and Geoff Duncan, Giabella 44 cms onboard 36 L Trolley case: value $129.95; and, Giabella 41 cms Tote bag: value $69.95;

Advantage Healthcare, Your local healthcare experts, 90 Tingal Rd Wynnum, 60 minute Massage: value $90;

Fresh Sensations, for all Deli, fruit & veggies, and butcher products, Carindale, Chermside and Capalaba Shopping Centres, fruit tray: value $50;

Alexa from ” Hair at No 3″, 3 Brennan Place Lota, for all personal hair styling and care: value $50;

Dan Murphy’s, Wynnum West store, voucher: value $25;

Punjab Curry Club, Main Rd Wellington Point, (2015 Redland’s Restaurant and Retailer of the Year) 2 meal vouchers: value of each, $25;

Anonymous donor, 3 Ishtar Adelaide Hills Pinot Grigio: value $ $20.49 each;

Hogan’s Wellington Point Hotel, Main Rd Wellington Point, 5 ‘ buy 1 get 1 free’ meal vouchers:

Anonymous donor, 3 McLarenVale Semillion Sav Blanc: value $17.99 each;

Bobbie Fleming, 2 beautifully crafted quilted Library Bags;

Cedar & Pine, 2 Coffee and Cake gift vouchers;

Ann, 1 cleanskin Cab Merlot; and,

Wello Point Takeaway, Main Rd Wellington Point, Meal voucher for a family of 4.

Thank you all, for your generous offers and donations.

Every picture tells a story.

My supporters are finalising the raffles, thanks for your help.

My supporters are finalising the raffles, thanks for your help.

 Let the games begin.

Let the games begin.

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Gloomy skies but sunny dispositions.

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Kalani and Eli took a break from being my ‘helpers’.

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Yes, if you look hard enough you can see the water in the background. This is a beautiful location.

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Friends from 25 years ago meet up again.

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Thanks for coming to support Papa.

image image image image image image image image I’m going to let a picture tell a thousand words. These are some from our successful Barefoot Bowls fundraiser on 16th August.

A lot of fun was had by all.

All ages had fun and helped each other play. I think some new rules were invented during the afternoon.

Yes, new rules were developed as the afternoon continued. Even those who were a part of the ‘cheer squad’ had a say. Lots of laughter and I think a bit of serious competition in some cases too.

You could tell who won in each team by the air punching and dancing. Always a giveaway.

People with Younger Onset Dementia THANK you.

I’ve been meaning to post my everydayhero site here on the blog. It was established by Alzheimer’s Australia (Qld). It’s:

bit.ly/johnquinncamino

Every dollar raised will go towards Queensland projects to support Younger Onset Dementia (YOD). Can you please share the link so that more have an opportunity to donate?

But the greatest gift is if you share the fact that people in their 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and 60’s get diagnosed with Dementia. We need to get that message out into the community and to various government departments etc., etc. Many of us are still able to function reasonably well for a while after diagnosis as long as we have support. Some are still working. Some are still studying. Some are able to still advocate about YOD and the implications of the diagnosis at such a young age. We are not just statistics. We were all different prior to diagnosis so why would we all be the same with the same needs once we have this diagnosis.

However, some people living with Dementia lose their jobs and careers; have mortgages; have young children living at home and going to school; lose their driving licences; and, can be placed in an aged care facility because they can’t be cared for at home. (This happened to a dear friend at the age of 50.)

Please share this link and this information. Thanks John

4 sleeps to go, but how am I feeling?

Well, it’s now countdown time. We have a busy few days and then leaving to walk and cycle The Camino de Santiago, 825 kms across the top of Spain, with 6 others from my running group. Glenys isn’t doing the same Camino as us, in that we are doing it with a Camino adventure travel company and staying in Hotels and having our suitcases transported each day, therefore only having a day pack, however, she is backpacking and staying in the municipal or parish Alburgues and every so often in a Hotel, with us. She’ll walk either a day ahead, with us or a day behind and then taxi up ahead so that she’s always only a day or two away from me. Glenys can’t keep up with us fit guys and says that she’ll find a lot of piece and quietness in the Alburgues where between 6-160 others all sleep (and snore, LOL) in the same room!!!??? Seriously I don’t get it! But she’s serious.

I couldn’t do it without my mates, in particular Steve, who organised EVERYTHING. We will fly into Paris for a few days and then train it to St Jean Pied de Port, for the start of the Camino.

I’m really excited at the prospect that we are so close to starting. Ever since Glenys and I walked (backpacking it) and staying mainly in Alburgues independently in April 2011, I’ve tried to talk my mates in doing it as one of the group’s challenges. We have a lot of fun as a group and during the past 6-8 years, we ‘challenge’ each other to do something physical with each challenge trying to be ‘better’ than the others. And some have done all of the challenges, for example, Base Camp Everest; Larapinta Trail (Central Australia); Great Wall of China Half Marathon; climb Mt Taranaki New Zealand, and now the Camino. What will we come up with next?

I have mixed feelings about what is happening at the moment. I’m really looking forward to being on the Camino again and excited that I can share something that has special memories, with my mates.

But at the same time, I don’t travel well. And the past few weeks have been worrying for me about things like: is the suitcase big enough?, will I go over weight?, what do I need to pack?, and how many of each items will I need?.

Then there’s the lead up to the confusion that happens everytime we travel. In the end, Glenys gets us to the airport many hours before we actually need to be there because once we’re through the checkin and Customs, she can help me settle a bit. That’s important because I also don’t handle the busyness of the airport or the external stimuli with lights flashing on boards, announcements being made, people everywhere and often rushing, and the general noise levels.

So, I’m happy and excited, and I’m worried and confused and a little apprehensive about getting there. My suitcase is already packed and that has helped me.

I’m going to try to post a few posts over the next few weeks. This will depend on my tiredness levels and access to wifi. But keep viewing and talking to your family and friends, because this Camino is primarily about awareness than young people are being diagnosed with Dementia, and there are many implications for a diagnosis so young. Buen Camino.

Happy…… on the Camino.

Watch the youtube clip:

Glenys reckons this is how she’s going to get from St Jean Pied de Port, France, over the Pyrennes to Roncesvalles, Spain.

I saw her in Roncesvalles in 2011 when we took 3 days to do what she’s about to do in two days in September. Admittedly she’s come a long way in her rehabilitation after her car accident many years ago, and she’s confident that she can do it, but it’ll be a tough walk for her.

I know better than to doubt her, it was her idea back then for us to walk 825 kms across the top of Spain and except for when she got a serious case of bronchitis in Burgos, and we caught a bus for about 150 kms (so that she’d get a bit of a rest), we did it.

But I’m not sure that she’s going to have enough spare energy for this.

In the end it’s okay.

Well the day came and went.

I have been dreading and fighting against it for years, but in the end, it’s okay.

I’m talking about making that all important but difficult decision to never drive again.

This process started many years ago. After a number of incidents which Glenys thought were close calls but I didn’t even realise they’d happened, it got to the stage where she couldn’t be in the car with me if I was driving. In other words she drove us everywhere or on rare occasions, I just went alone. And over many years, she talked to me about her concerns.

When the YOD Key Worker Program started, Glenys and I discussed these concerns with my Key Worker for about 8 months before I decided to sit a combined Occupational Therapist (followed by) and an on-road Driving School instructor assessment. Over those 8 months there was what I describe to be a little chipping away at me until I realised the importance of having the assessment.

I saw it as my loss of independence. But also, I can’t process and make decisions or plan well, so I didn’t understand that I could manage with plans that were different to what I’d been doing for years. It’s not just about not liking change, it’s about the difficulty that I have with complex thinking and decision making.

So I did undertake the assessment December 2013 and was ‘allowed’ to drive under certain conditions including no longer than 30 minutes from home, because it was too tiring for my brain to stay focused to drive any longer.

In January 2015 it was reduced to 15 minutes because I had hardly driven more than about 10 minutes a week during the previous 12 months.

But all along, Glenys still had concerns. Although I’ve still got some insight into my condition, I think in some ways I didn’t have true insight in this. For example, although Glenys discussed the idea of me buying a bike to maintain my exercise program and my independence, and we did buy one, if the weather forecast was for rain, extreme wind or a really cold morning, I would decide the night before my ride to the pool, that I was going to drive the next morning. Once I decided that, it didn’t matter if I’d slept poorly, felt unwell, or anything, I automatically drove and never reassessed the situation.

Well the decider was when one day, early June 2015, we were walking together and I kept cutting Glenys off, walking into her. So she just went around the back of me to my other side. I asked her (a little panicky) where she was going and she said that we were just going to the traffic lights and then we’d cross the road. I asked her what traffic lights, so she pointed at the lights overhanging just above us. I told her that I couldn’t see any traffic lights. So she said there’s a red traffic light just there (as she pointed to it). I replied again that I couldn’t see any traffic lights.

Glenys took my hand and said not to worry about it because we’re ready to cross the road, and as we turned to cross, I said “I can see the button to push, but I can’t see any lights”.

Of course Glenys had concerns of the implications for me as a pedestrian, as a cyclist, and as a driver, and concern as she had all along, for the others around or with me. So she asked me to let her do all of the driving until we could talk with my Doctor. I agreed for her to explain to 2 mates that I wasn’t currently driving and to  talk about the traffic light episode. They offered to pick me up for my exercise regime.

As it turns out, my GP was on leave and I didn’t want to see any other doctor, so we waited two months until we could talk with her.

A few days before that appointment I decided that because I’d been managing to still maintain my independence and my life for those two months, as it had been prior to the ‘traffic lights’ episode, I would manage.

So in the end, I just decided that I wouldn’t drive again.

I also now realise that over the past few years, different strategies have been put into place to support this outcome.

As you know, I’ve gone from being a non cyclist to 7 months later, riding 562 kms through Vietnam and Cambodia over 9 days; I’m about to walk and cycle the Camino de Santiago across the top of Spain; and I have a great support team in Glenys, family and my mates to get anywhere when I can’t cycle.

This decision was a tough one, and I can understand how others with medical conditions must feel. But, at least for me and in my situation, in the end it’s okay.